Health and social care “straining at the seams”, says CQC

In its annual litmus test of the health and social care sector, the CQC has warned that the system is “straining at the seams” making future care provision precarious.

The CQC said care quality standards had been maintained despite a challenging climate with 78% of adult social care services rated Good, up from 71% last year.

On the downside, 23% of adult social care services originally rated Good dropped at least one rating.

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The CQC also highlighted that there had been a 4,000 drop in nursing home beds, representing a 2% fall between 2015 and 2017.

Sir David Behan, CEO of the CQC, said: “In spite of the challenges we have seen in the system this year quality has been maintained thanks to the efforts of staff and leaders.”

Sir David added that future of care was “precarious” because of the increasing complexity of demand.

“It is important that services at a local levels work together as we move forward,” the CQC chief added.

He also called for a sustainable solution for the future adult social care system and its funding.

Professor Martin Green, CBE, CEO of Care England, said: “This is the second year in a row that the Chief Inspector at CQC has had to outline the precarious state of social care to Parliament.  Parliament can ill afford to ignore the warnings from CQC; there is an urgent need for a long term funding settlement that will reach the frontline and support sustainable quality services.

“There is a lot of uncertainty in the sector and by dragging its heels on the social care Green Paper, Government simply cannot abdicate responsibility for those in need of care, especially those funded by local authorities.”

Cllr Izzi Seccombe, Chairman of the Local Government Association’s Community Wellbeing Board, added: “Social care faces a perfect storm, and the CQC report is yet another timely warning from a key part of the sector, of the need to resolve the short and long-term future of care as an urgent priority.

“We have warned that despite the helpful one-off funding of £2 billion announced in the Spring Budget, social care faces an annual funding gap of £2.3 billion by 2020. Government must use the forthcoming Autumn Budget to set out how it plans to address this.”

NCF Executive Director Vic Rayner said: “Against a back drop of the most challenging times the sector has ever faced it is encouraging to see an increase in the number of Adult Social Care services that are rated as good. The increase from 71% to 78% is a credit to the Registered Managers and staff who work in the sector seeking to provide the best outcomes for people using services. Staff continue to prioritise relationships and person centred practice.

“However, as the CQC have recognised in their report, the stresses and strains on the system, on people using services and on the staff cannot be sustained. The National Care Forum calls on the present government to demonstrate effective leadership and work in partnership with people using services, carers, providers and commissioners to ensure there is an informed and responsive solution to the crisis facing adult social care.“

To read the report, click here.

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The author Lee Peart

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